I have been working through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, as I stated at the start of this blog. This weeks challenge is to avoid all forms of media – emailing, Twitter, Magazines, Books, TV, this blog! I was honestly excited at first, an actual excuse to not have to email and get in touch or to be informed. A mini hiatus with zero expectations from friends and family and colleagues. I do love to email and connect with my family and friends, but so often I wish I could just avoid it all – expectations weigh me down.
Of course this challenge got me thinking about how much time I actually do spend on my computer, chatting, surfing the web and often times how unproductive if not utterly wasteful the time spent is. I have now termed it ‘mental masturbation’. It is like eating an entire bag of crisps without even realizing it. To just sit in a space of idly chatting and browsing and to suddenly look up and realise you have just spent several hours on your computer without accomplishing, or even doing, a thing. I do this. Sure it is great to chat and shoot the shit with friends back in South Africa, to just switch off to an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, but for this mission of creative emergence I am trying to be on, it is a waste of time.
For me, I am even going as far to compare it to how much time, thinking and working the thoughts in my mind. It is just a pattern of behaviour for my thoughts, they have grown accustomed to me switching off and indulging their games and folly, all of which is completely inconsequential to the actual world. They are just my thoughts. This pattern enables me to tune out of the moment, and delve into my thoughts, avoiding this present state, venturing into the past, or the future, trying to solve some problem. All tricks of the monkey mind and the ego.
This also got me thinking about how much we are bombarded with Media on a day to day basis. I am constantly being subjected to some sort of advertising, some sort of new consumerist trend that I should sit up and take note of. This onslaught is not even out of my own doing, I just have to look around the streets, billboards, signs, posters, Yahoo home page. All of this bullshit is filtering into my consciousness, absorbed via osmosis without my permission. All of which are designed to alter my thinking, I am sure to instill a feeling of lack, that I should go out and purchase more, do more, be more.
I sadly realised after 4 days into this challenge, the amount of times I check my email, how addicted and compelled I am to do this. I am ashamed to admit it, but it is true. Compelled to see who is writing to me, who is talking to me, who is inviting me somewhere, when honestly, deep down, I don’t actually care (to check it that often), and where this pattern emerged from I don’t know, but I noticed it, it is there.
So, perhaps the challenge by Julia Cameron might inspire you, to see if you could give this up for a week. To totally open the space for something new to step in. To be inspired by the life inside you instead of the world out there. To be doing something interesting, instead of reading about someone else doing it. And so, the decision to be more conscious in my life and to continue to make positive changes continues, I have decided to spend less time idly online, and more time doing things that inspire me.